Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
"Higher the position, higher the corruption"

Every 10 years there is a crisis. Is the present one a crisis of the legislature?

Balakrishna Sama has written a book on the unexpectedness of events. These events do not follow any laws or thought processes, and happen all of a sudden. The events occurring in our country every 10 years are just like what Sama said. The decadal cycles show that we haven't been able to learn all that history has taught us.

Who are people in these tiring times waiting for-the army, the King, the parliament or Maoists?

I do not see the army in that role. According to tradition the army is an organ of the State. Its loyalty is towards the country. Since the King is at the centre of the nation, its loyalty will lie towards the King. Let us not move the army any further from that position. Let it stay as and where it is, that will benefit the nation.

History is looking for the role of the King. Our history, culture, in fact even our constitution accepts that the King is the focal point of this nation. It is but natural therefore to look for a role of the King.

Please give us a definite answer. Which individual or party is responsible for the present crisis?

Everybody, including myself who sits in parliament, is responsible. A bigger part of this blame has to be carried by the people who are in power, who are ruling this country. After that it is the responsibility of all forces capable of forming governments. Another group that is responsible are the ones who are not in government but run the show. It does not do to just blame the people, the constitution and democracy for our present ills.

Still, who is to be blamed? Is it because of the inefficiencies of the political parties or because of the character of some people?

We practice a weird type of politics in our country. Political parties publish manifestos during elections and other policy papers and documents, but no one reads or studies them it till it is time for the next elections. Even the people never raise questions concerning anything that is published in the party manifestos. This means that the common people never ever read these papers. Three elections have already taken place since.

There is not one responsible position in the country at the present moment that comes on the basis of capacity or capability-they have all been bought. How can there be honesty when positions are bought? All positions have been abused, misused. A person who has been found to be inefficient has gone on to be posted to a better position, and no one has completed his or her tenure. We have set bad precedents and created an inefficient system. What a tragedy that no one wanted to take the post of finance minister. The leader of the majority party in parliament had to go to MPs' houses to ask them to join government. What can be a better example of the falling standards of democracy? Isn't this an insult to democracy?

The opposition has asked for the resignation of the prime minister. Is the Lauda Air corruption case the only reason or are there others?

Seriousness and trust are lacking in the country. This is a regular session of parliament and it is the responsibility of the government to conduct these sessions. The opposition will have its complaints. Why should parliament be caught up in these problems? This shows a lack of seriousness and responsibility.

If we point out inefficiencies of the prime minister, they deserve proper answers. Questions must be raised properly. The PM does not come forward on a personal basis or as a group to discuss matters, and those around him are incapable of carrying out a discussion. There is also doubt about his honesty. He promises everything when he wants support but does not fulfil his promises. The opposition is raising its voice in parliament but the ruling party is not providing answers. Almost 90 percent of the ruling party seats are always vacant in parliament. How can empty chairs provide answers? The ruling party members present there have become mere spectators. Is there any parliament in the world where there are only spectators and people asking questions? No one has paid any attention as to why such a situation has come about. The government takes everything lightly. Matters that have to be acted upon are not touched at all.

After the third general election, a huge hue and cry was raised in parliament concerning the leakage in revenue. An all-party committee was formed, and a report was submitted. Just as the report was being presented the country went into elections, after which the report was presented and passed by both houses. But nothing was done about it and it was not implemented. Ministers who had been accused by that report are still ministers. No action was taken against any bureaucrat, businessman or other person who was named. We have closed the door on ourselves.

In the Lauda Air case, no court has said that the PM is involved in corruption. Therefore, why should he resign? Now that is a legal matter. Everyone agrees that corruption has reached a very high level in this country. People believe that whoever reaches a high position is corrupt and the higher the position, the higher the level of corruption. There maybe some honest people but the masses are not prepared to accept that. The longer parliament does not function, the longer this thought will linger in the minds of the masses. The longer this thinking persists, the faster problems will arise.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)